Stephen Kenny was pleased with his Ireland charges after Tuesday night's narrow win over Armenia, despite a "ridiculous" spell in which the opposition scored two goals in two minutes.
John Egan and Michael Obafemi gave Ireland a two-goal cushion but it was to be pegged back by the Armenians, a collapse that seemed like it could de-rail the potential of a Kenny-led Ireland heading into the future.
Speaking post-match, Kenny was defiant in his praise for his team, despite the scare.
"I'm not sure exactly how to feel. I know that we played really well in the game, and I was very pleased with how we played, but then we shot ourselves in the foot for a period, two goals in two minutes.
"It was careless because we could have been four up at that point in the 75th minute."
"We got caught on the break at 2-nil and then we made a mistake and got punished a minute later.
"So, the fact we came back and won 3-2 was important and we were much the better team and could have won by a few goals but there are learnings there for us, for sure."
Kenny refused to question the team's leaders as Ireland lost control of the destiny of the game when they were coasting to a comfortable victory.
"They know themselves, we were so much in the ascendancy, we went for the third, fourth, fifth goal which is fine, but we shouldn't lose the structure of our back three and the protection around that.
"I don't accept that [the questioning of the leaders]. Well, John Egan is the captain tonight and John is a great leader and I wouldn't have his leadership questioned at all.
"You know, so I think he's a terrific leader."
He continued: Yeah, we have a young team but I do think that it was an exceptional performance at times, we dominated."
Speaking on the Jayson Molumby incident, in which the Waterford native was lucky to avoid a second yellow card, Kenny said: "I thought the first booking seemed harsh, but I had to make that decision [to take him off straight away]."